Defending her title one kick at a time

Cassidy Smith will look to defend her Kyokushin-Kan tittle at the SA championships in Pinetown in October.

A member of the Kyokushin-Kan Karate club, Cassidy will be defending her age and weight category title at the national championships, in Pinetown, in KwaZulu-Natal, later this year.

Kyokushin-Kan is full contact karate and each age group has different weight divisions.

The youngster qualified for nationals after winning gold in the 12 to 13 age group, at the Western Province championships, at Bothasig Community Centre, last month.

Cassidy has been the WP and SA champion for the last five years but she believes every year the competition gets tougher.

“I never take my opponents for granted because anything can happen on the day. All I can do is to go out there with a positive mindset and to give my best. I am aiming to defend my title but also to fight well,” she said.

She represented South Africa at the world junior championships in Moscow, Russia, in 2014, where she finished in fourth place.

In the fight for third and fourth place, Cassidy drew three times with her opponent but lost on the scale as she weighed more than her opponent.

She said it was an honour and privilege to represent South Africa.

“I’ve gained a lot of experience competing on an international level because the standard of fighting is very high. I have also learnt that I have to train harder because my goal is to become a world champion,” she said.

“When I face opponents that are bigger and stronger, then I’m not afraid but I just go in and finish my fight. I enjoy karate because it’s fun and also interesting. I also enjoy going to tournaments because one gets to travel all over the country,” she said.

Cassidy said she also enjoyed her time away from the dojo, in Russia.

“I experienced snow for the first time and Moscow is a beautiful place so I also enjoyed the sightseeing. I also met new people and made new friends,” she said.

Cassidy took up the sport at the age of four and said she was inspired by her father Gavin, who is a karate instructor and was promoted to fifth Dan just last month.

“When my father taught his students, I stood behind the last row and copied every move he made. I could hardly wait till we got home to show him what I had learnt,” she said.

Smith said his daughter has developed well over the years and hopes her dream of being a world champion comes true.

“She has become competitive, supple, strong and fast. Cassidy also gained a lot of confidence and discipline. I believe she has a bright future in karate if she carries on the way she is.

“When Cassidy is not doing karate she is like any other teenage girl who likes to dress up and be pretty,” he said.